The People in Darfur Have Suffered Enough

Posted by Lauren Landis
November 3, 2007
Refugee Camp in Darfur, Sudan

Lauren Landis is the Sr. Representative, Sudan, Sudan Programs Group.
Lauren's previous post:
Stop the Fighting in Sudan

Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked for USAID's Food for Peace Program and Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and Save the Children, delivering food and humanitarian assistance to refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other vulnerable populations. I've visited people all over Africa who have lost everything: their homes, their livelihoods, their families and their friends because of violence, war, famine and other catastrophes. In Sudan, the situation is particularly bad -- the UN calls it the world's worst humanitarian disaster. Currently there are 2.5 million people living in IDP camps, driven from their lands by insecurity and violence.

Because I know the fear in which these people live -- I've gone to Darfur repeatedly -- I was troubled when I read press reports that displaced persons were being ordered to move. In addition, the Government of Sudan has said it is going to divide one IDP camp in Darfur into several smaller camps. I'm not on the ground in Darfur right now, but I want to take a moment to reiterate the U.S. policy on the movement of IDPs.

Our government condemns any efforts to pressure internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Darfur to leave IDP camps before the displaced have voluntarily decided to return to their homes. We also condemn any forced movements of IDPs. We insist that the Government of Sudan adhere to the international agreements that it has made with respect to ensuring IDP returns in Darfur are voluntary. Moreover, any IDP sites must meet all international humanitarian standards, be fully accessible to humanitarian workers, and be secure.

The people in Darfur have suffered enough. They don’t need to be forced to move against their will.



November 3, 2007

Wang in China writes:

I think that it won't be a good feel to see so many people suffering a lot and you just can't do anything except seeing and feeling sorry for them, especially when you are sent to there to help them. Isn't it the time that we really did something for them? Saying can't solve any problem; we should all donate ourselves to helping them.

November 3, 2007

John in Greece writes:

Sudan -among other areas in the globe...

What all the other "big" countries do in the area?
And not only in Sudan, but everywhere the whole Africa region, Asia, N.Asia, S.Asia etc. ...wherever there is a need?

the "Giant" China?
The non gay Iran?

Where is any other nation's presence in Sudan? Do they care? And if they do not care about Sudan, why they "do care" about other "geo" issues and countries?

It's been more than 70 years that only the U.S.A. (and of course the Bush Administration) cares for Sudan... and many other areas (Burma etc.) by doing real, costly "things", exercising a humanitarian policy far away from the "honey", according to an Ethical code that contributes to a global peace!

I hope the best for all the people there.

November 3, 2007

DS writes:

The U.S. spent a lot of money for the permanent housing of the UN workers. Maybe they saw all the great housing and decided they needed it.

More troops are not the answer. The AU has a lot of them. The AU should be supported instead of the countries that want the AU destroyed.

I don't think it is right for the U.S. or anybody else to tell a country they can't shut down a problem. It was bad housing and now it's getting better, so why not take it over? These people can go back home. It's was a slum and now it's a city. The city can be sold to new people who want the housing. Maybe it will be a real nice place. Maybe the IDPs won't live in fear and suffer.

Our government condemns sounds like a statement to the media. There should be some reference to the law that says this in my country.

The IDP sites no longer exist. They might be tired of paying for all these workers and allowing them access to their country. Maybe we should stop looking to continue a crisis as it is being ended.

United States
November 4, 2007

N. in U.S. writes:

I understand that suffering counts for something, but how about Mass Murder in the thousands. Just look up "Hmong and Laos Genocide." I don't need a response, because i already know the response. Here are some links.


Pennsylvania, USA
November 5, 2007

Thomas in Pennsylvania writes:

What are the ways in which the US, UN, and other nations of the world can bring about change in Darfur? If the Sudanese government wants to relocate the IDP, what can the rest of the world do to change their mind?

There are limited types of pressure that can be brought to bear on the Sudanese government. We can offer them money to do what we think is right (foreign aid, relief funds). We can threaten economic sanctions or the cessation of aid (economic pressure). We can make them look bad in the world press, or make them look good if they comply (information power). We can try to convince them to honor their earlier promises either out of shame, fear, enlightened self interest, honor, good will, or ethical reasoning (diplomatic pressure). Or we can use military power to punish them for not doing what we want, up to and including regime change or complete take over. These methods could be used by the any world power either alone or in concert with other powers. Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages.

Which of the options available should be pursued by the world's powers to help save people from their own government? How much is the world ready to do? What is best for the people we are trying to save?

Tough questions.

New York, USA
November 6, 2007

Ronald in New York writes:


OK...first we played semantics....what's genocide? in the lawyers....OK...Darfur is what?

Blackhawks in?...Down? Hey, let it go....we aren't the worlds policemen....Sudan is's the Janjaweed... anyway, we pay the biggest share of humanitarian aid....

What if other nation's got on our case for our racism?...

Also, there's a national election coming up...we don't want to confuse people with any rash interventions now do we?....besides, it's only Africa...we need to stay focused on the middle-east......Darfur?, I think i have a headache.

Tennessee, USA
November 6, 2007

LP in Tennessee writes:

The problems in Africa are enormous, from communications to representation in democratic nations which have as many as 16 parties fighting for their constituents. Just one example is Namibia's history. It has culminated in a country with diverse language and culture. A country in which English, Oshivambo, Herero, Damara and German and several other languages are spoken by just two million inhabitants.

What need be developed are Nationalistic Inter cultural bridges. Patchwork education, housing, etc is simply not enough. This needs somehow be done and laws governing the corruption developed by Corp. Greed, which is the real problem economically. This problem often is viewed as "Political" but is a separate issue which has yet to be addressed by any Nation involved in any attempt at re-construction.

You have every country in the world trying to exploit which is not a free democracy there now: North Koreans selling arms, Russia, now even China is "lending" some 400 million in return for oil rights -- as well as selling an enormous amt. of weapons to any group who opposes democracy. That is also a major problem. They negate any gains through fiscal and military support which will give them a "control" function in that society.

Africa has some 53 countries, 54 with Egypt -- all as diverse as could possibly be and the problem in Darfur is only one part of the problem to be solved. There needs are so great and the people so oppressed, even the concept of a "unified" National identification is not a reality. There is a social and psychological barrage of barriers that need addressing. The first thing you have to realize is it's not an "isolated" incident, which is the problem.

Militarily, the United States has developed AFRICOM to aid with everything from armed suppression to the escorting of necessary deliveries for everything from tents to food to hospital supplies and merge with UN forces accordingly shows the degree to which the African problem is being addressed.

This could be a book, but truth be known Darfur represents only a part of the problem and the war is bigger than just a "people suffrage" war. There is an "open" and recognizable attempt to keep dictatorship and opposition regimes alive and well in Africa and not by the United States or others who support Democracy and individual freedoms.


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